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Persephone

The Greek goddess, Persephone, was very beautiful. She filled the world with happiness.

Her mother was Demeter, goddess of the harvest. She helped crops like wheat and corn grow.

Demeter loved her daughter very much. When they were together, the sun shined, flowers bloomed, and plants grew.

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Hades was ruler of the underworld. His world was dark and cold.

One day, Hades saw Persephone picking flowers. If anyone could warm the cold heart of Hades it would be Persephone. Hades fell in love with her.

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Hades knew Persephone would not agree to marry him. He also knew Demeter would never let Persephone go to the underworld.

So he came up with a plan.

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Late one night when the world was sleeping, Hades left the underworld. He snuck into the house of Persephone and Demeter.

Then very quietly, he stole Persephone away.

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When Persephone awoke, she found herself on a boat with Hades. “Hades, where are you taking me?” she asked.

“I am taking you to the underworld,” Hades said. “You will be my queen.”

Persephone was trapped. She had no choice but to go with Hades.

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The next morning Demeter awoke to find her daughter missing. A young nymph told Demeter what happened.

“Persephone has been taken by Hades,” the nymph said.

Demeter cried and cried. She did not think she would ever see her daughter again.

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In her sadness Demeter set the earth into a wintery freeze. “For as long as my daughter is with Hades,” said Demeter, “the sun will never shine.”

Soon the flowers wilted and plants died. No plants grew on earth.

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In the underworld, Persephone was also very sad. She cried for days. She did not sleep or eat.

Hades knew that his new wife wanted to go home. He also knew that if she ate the food of the underworld she would have to stay with him forever.

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One day Hades said to Persephone, “My beautiful wife. You must be very hungry. Eat this fruit. You will feel much better.”

Persephone, not knowing that Hades was trying to trick her, took a small bite of the fruit. Then, she ate the other food Hades gave her.

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Just then the messenger Hermes arrived. “Hades, Persephone,” Hermes said. “I must speak to you.”

“Demeter has turned the world into a snow storm. Plants will not grow and the people are starving. She will not stop until Persephone is returned,” Hermes said.

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“I am sorry, but you are too late,” Hades said. “Persephone has eaten the fruit of the underworld. She must stay with me.”

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“Hades,” she said. “The people should not starve because of me.”

“Let me go for a short time,” she continued. “So the people can plant the crops and feel the warmth of the sun. After the crops have been picked I will come back to you.”

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Hermes and Hades thought this was a very good idea.

Hades agreed to let Persephone return with Hermes. “But,” Hades said, “you must keep your promise and come back after the harvest.”

Persephone agreed.

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Hermes happily returned Persephone to her home. Demeter was filled with joy when she saw her daughter.

Warmth stretched across the earth. Flowers bloomed and the plants grew again.

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Persephone told her mother about her promise to Hades. “I must keep my promise,” Persephone said. “If I do not the people will starve.”

Demeter was sad to hear that her daughter would leave again. But she knew there was no other way.

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Persephone spent eight months with her mother. These months were filled with warmth. Crops were planted and grown.

We call this time spring and summer.

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After the crops were picked, Persephone returned to Hades in the underworld. During this time the earth is cold. We call this time winter.

We know that it will not last. For each spring Persephone returns.

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Think About It!

Demeter is goddess of the harvest. She helps crops, like wheat and corn grow. Can you name other kinds of crops?

What do you think the word “harvest” means?

Hades tricked Persephone. What trick did he play on her and why?

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L

FAZ Reading Level Detail

Lexile Score 500
Word Count 685
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